Last summer when David Kent, UFV’s sports information and marketing co-ordinator, announced plans for the basketball showcase vs. Trinity at the AESC, he mused aloud about one day breaking the Canada West attendance record at the 7,000-seat venue.
That didn’t come close to happening in the first incarnation of the event – Saturday’s paid attendance was 649.
But considering UFV averages around 200 fans per game for regular home dates at the Envision Athletic Centre, and in light of the fact this event is still in its infancy, Kent considered it a solid first step.
The AESC sees potential, as well – general manager Jason Blumenfeld confirmed that UFV has been invited back to run the event again in 2013.
“We’ll expand it for next year, and we’ll make this an annual event,” Blumenfeld said. “Eventually, we’d like to make it something where the university makes some money on it.”
Saturday’s event was modeled after the Capital Hoops Classic, an annual game in Ottawa between the Carleton Ravens and the Ottawa Gee Gees men’s basketball teams at Scotiabank Place, the home of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators. Kent used to work in the Carleton athletic department, and played a key role in establishing that event, which draws in the neighbourhood of 10,000 fans each year.
To boost attendance at the AESC showcase next year, Kent said he intends to lower the ticket price from $15, and seek sponsorship from a bus company to transport students from TWU as well UFV campuses in Chilliwack and Mission.
“We do need a larger crowd in the future, sure,” he said. “But I’m very pleased and very happy. We needed to get to the next level with the brand.
“It was a great start, and we’ll go from here,” he added. “I’m as hungry on the marketing side as the athletes are to win a CIS championship.”